Meet Whitney; my new friend, sorority sister, young entrepreneur, and stud jewelry maker!
I stalk Beaded by W on Instagram, in aw of all of Whitney's designs. Every time she posts, I brainstorm what I want to order for myself. I'm slightly obsessed with the gold and wood beads on the necklace Whitney made me.
Between the craziness of starting college, this Austin native manages to balance school, sorority, a social life and making anywhere from 30-40 necklaces a week. She's always taking orders while also making jewelry to sells in stores around Austin, Norman, OK, Tulsa, OK and more. If I could tell you how she manages it all I would.
Q & A with Whitney:
A: How did Beaded by W get started? Give me some background on you and your biz!
W: So it was January 2 of my senior year in high school and I was bored and looking for a hobby since senior year is pretty laid back. I noticed I was sitting on my phone and Netflix a lot so I wanted to do something to keep myself off of my technology and do something productive.
I saw a tassel necklace in a store and I really really wanted it but it was $80. I figured out how to make the tassel, bought some beads, and made myself a tassel necklace. My friend saw me wearing it and she wanted it, then her friend wanted it, and then their friends wanted one too. I thought "maybe I can make a business out of this, just something small". So I did.
My goal was to sell affordable cute jewelry and my target audience was girls my age and in college. I know that girls don't want to spend a lot of $$ on jewelry so I priced it somewhat low- $20 for a necklace. I think that strategy is what made my business successful- girls are getting good quality jewelry for a somewhat cheap price. I launched my Instagram "beaded by W" at the beginning of March and by the end of the week, most of my high school knew about it and I was getting a lot of orders. Within two weeks I had a store contact me: Beehive Boutique in Austin! A girl went into the store wearing one of my necklaces and they loved it so she gave them my contact information and they ordered necklaces from me. Now I have jewelry being sold in 3 states, 6 cities, and 8 stores and it is expanding! I still take individual orders though too! You don't have to go to a store to buy my jewelry- you can purchase directly through me by emailing me.
A: Have you always made your own jewelry?
W: I use to make jewelry with my grandma when I was little and I loved it. I remembered the basic steps of jewelry making so I thought I would start making jewelry again just for fun. Making jewelry is a fun, stress reliever for me.
A: What does an average day making jewelry look like for you?
W: An average day for me is go to class, study in between all of my classes, come back to my dorm room and break out the jewelry and work on it for about three hours, and then I'll study for a little and then work on it more. It's very very time consuming but it is my passion and I absolutely love it.
A: What has been your biggest accomplishment with your jewelry so far?
W: My biggest accomplishment so far is this past July, a girl I went to high school with is an intern for the long center in Austin, which is a big event center and is well known throughout the city. She contacted me about making 300 necklaces for their fall event "Skyline".The necklaces are going in the VIP "swag bags" and I get to put my business cards in the bags, so I really couldn't turn it down! It is my proudest accomplishment to have made 300 tassel necklaces first semester of my freshman year of college just because it is so crazy time consuming. I've had to risk some of my social life to do this, but I think in the end it is worth it.
A: Do you have any tips for young entrepreneurs?
W: Tips for young entrepreneurs: I still have no idea what I am doing really, all I know is that I have a dream- I have no idea where it is going to take me, but I'm excited to see where it will. If you have a dream or an idea, go for it. It could be the best decision you make in your life. If you fail, it is a lesson learned! Everything happens for a reason and I am a strong believer in doing what you love with your life. Even if others think it is dumb, trust your gut and follow your heart. Work hard- don't slack off, it will be worth it in the end because you are doing what you love!
A: What is your favorite Beaded by W piece you’ve made?
W: I would say my favorite beaded by W necklace I have made is my gray pearl beads with rose gold beads in between and a magenta tassel. I love the color combo!
Whitney uses Instagram as her way to advertise her business and promote new designs. Make sure to follow her on insta but also like her Facebook page. If you want to place an order you can email Whitney at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Now for the fun part. I'm sure you are all in love with Whitney's necklaces by now, soooo time for a GIVEAWAY!
Whitney made this beautiful gold and black tassel necklace that will be going home with one lucky Take A Bite reader!
How to Enter: (Enter just one way or all 5 ways, the more entries the better chance at winning!)
1. Comment on this post
2. Comment by tagging two friends on my Instagram
3. Like Take A Bite on Facebook
4. Like beaded by W on Facebook
5. Follow beaded by W on Instagram
If you like or follow Take A Bite or beaded by W, let me know in your comment! Winner will be announced Friday at noon.